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Beyond green jello.

Given our country's soaring rates of diet-related illnesses, it is amazing that hospitals are just now beginning to offer healthier foods ("Yum,

Yum ... Hospital Food," Eating Right, November/December 2006). Fresh fruits and vegetables, locally grown produce, and organic foods are a positive step, but hospitals also need to offer patients and cafeteria-goers more meatless options. Studies show that low-fat, vegetarian foods can help people maintain a healthy weight and prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer. People deserve to know that meatless meals may help prevent future trips to the hospital or the doctor's office. Most people, given the choice, would rather change their diet than undergo surgery or other procedures.

Dulcie Ward, R.D.

Staff Dietitian

Physicians for Responsible Medicine

Washington, DC

I am a registered dietician and serve as director of nutrition services and diabetes education at Good Shepherd Hospital in Hermiston, Oregon, which was featured in the article "Yum, Yum ... Hospital Food," (Eating Right, November/December 2006).

I was disturbed to see that some of my colleagues are not serving organic foods to patients because of cost. There are two points I would like to make:

1. Food is the basis of health. In a hospital, food literally is medicine. We do not serve a patient until we have a prescription. We do not treat patients with inferior medicines, or use the cheapest medicine on the market if there is a more effective medicine at a higher cost. We need to approach food in the same way.

2. Over the past year, I have discontinued buying 162 different food items that contain ingredients I do not want to serve to human beings, sick or well. Yes, some foods that we buy are more expensive, but we more than offset that extra cost by not purchasing processed food. We use whole food ingredients and make as much as possible from scratch.

Nancy Gummer, RD, LD, CDE

Good Shepherd Medical Center

Hermiston, OR
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Title Annotation:ADVICE & DISSENT: Letters from our readers
Author:Gummer, Nancy
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Mar 1, 2007
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